Growing up as a child of the ’80s, I appreciate things that are a bit over the top. The ’80s were about excess, having it all and doing things, well…just because. There were the flashy cars and clothes on Miami Vice, big hair and shoulder pads for women, and infomercials that sold you your own personal American dream. The ’80s were loud, in your face, unapologetic and it seemed like you could have it all. So, when Czech Weapons went over the top with its Version 1 CSV-9, I had to Czech it out.
The Four Peaks Imports Version 1 CSV-9
It was just by happenstance that I recently came across a firearm during SHOT Show that looks like it was made in the ’80s and belonged in one of those old Miami Vice episodes. I don’t say that to impugn the gun’s quality but to merely comment on its audaciousness.
With its retro-chic styling, aggressive profile, and brash attitude, the new-to-America CSV-9 from Czech Weapons is making a splash of its own. And Four Peaks Imports is making it happen.
When I started making inquiries on how to get my hands on the CSV-9 pistol, I found a gentleman named Nikolas Tavlarios at Four Peaks Imports who helped me out. Four Peaks Imports is set up under the umbrella of POF-USA. Its sole mission is to scour the planet for exceptional firearms and import them for sale in the United States.
After talking about what models were going to be available, Nikolas set up an order for a Version 1 CSV-9.
So, what got me so excited about the CSV-9 in the first place? Well, there was some of that ’80s nostalgia happening with its Tec-9ish appearance. But there was the fact that it accepts Gen 4 Glock magazines and was made in the Czech Republic. And I love guns made in the Czech Republic.
Throw in the fact that it appeared to be a high-quality firearm with excellent fit and finish. Not to mention, its striker-fired trigger system. All in all, the whole package was pretty intriguing.
Currently, there are six different versions of the CSV-9 available. The main differences among models include barrel length and various accessory configurations. I asked for the Version 1 model because, to be honest, I thought it was the coolest of the bunch. It was the most compact as well.
The Version 1 comes with a 4.72-inch barrel and weighs in at 4.43 pounds with the aluminum receiver. Czech Weapons also has CSV-9 models with steel receivers as well.
Getting Into the Details of the CSV-9
As mentioned, the CSV-9 has a striker-fired trigger, but it’s also a simple blowback design that features a reciprocating bolt. The gun comes with a reversible charging handle that makes it appealing to left-handed shooters. And it also includes an ambidextrous, though wonky, cross-bolt style safety.
As promised in the literature and with what I’ve seen online, the craftsmanship on display with the CSV-9 is exquisite. The fit and finish of the entire package are as good as anything I’ve seen from B&T and other high-end makers.
The CSV-9 features a Picatinny rail up top for mounting optics, which is fitted with slide-on, iron sights from the factory. Out front, there’s a mini quad-rail for mounting accessories like vertical grips, hand stops, weapon lights and other items.
A similar caution is in place for the Picatinny rail at the rear of the receiver for mounting braces or stocks. Unless the CSV-9 has been converted to an SBR, the user is limited to mounting a pistol brace.
A couple of noteworthy items include the hollow grip, which can store a spare magazine for fast and handy reloads. Also, the charging handle reciprocates during fire. So, you’ll want to be careful where you place your support hand lest you get your thumb whacked.
Any bits of steel have a blued finish, while the aluminum lower is anodized. At the CSV-9’s $2,000 MSRP, I would personally prefer a more robust finish up top to better mitigate corrosion. But some will appreciate the attractive blued finish for its appealing aesthetics.
A couple guys from my local FFL, Stevens Gun and Pawn, were also excited and intrigued upon the CSV-9’s arrival. They wanted to give it a go as well. So, a few of us met at our local range to break in the CSV-9 and to sort out the good from the bad.
The first thing I did was mount an SB Tactical FS1913 pistol brace to the Picatinny rail at the end of the receiver. The FS1913 is a folding brace that offers a positive lock-up and plenty of clearance to shoot the CSV-9 while the brace is in its folded position.
Have you ever seen those cheesy action movies in the ’80s where the characters run around with ridiculous accessories on their guns, like a full-power rifle scope on an MP5? I decided to keep that “over the top” ’80s mindset—at least during the beginning of our testing.
I went ahead and mounted a Leupold VX-R 2-7×33 Firedot scope just to see how accurate the CSV-9 really was.
After getting the scope dialed in with Hornady’s 115-grain Critical Defense Load at 25 yards, I was able to punch five rounds into one hole with a group size measuring just .38 inches (measuring outside edges and subtracting bullet diameter).
That was utterly fantastic accuracy. But of course, it’s a little impractical to run something like the CSV-9 with that kind of optic. And I didn’t include those results in the accuracy table.
However, it does show that most modern pistols will outshoot the shooter. And the biggest limiting factor for me achieving the tightest groups possible at that distance is my vision and the ability to pick a precise aiming point.
Dialing in the CSV-9
But there was a happy compromise to be had. I’d also brought along an Aimpoint H-2 red-dot sight with a quick-release base. That H-2 is the perfect size for the CSV-9, and the 2-MOA dot gave me the precision I wanted.
Luckily, the H-2 was almost dead on at 25 yards. The first group hit a little left and measured .54 inches. After a slight windage adjustment, the H-2 was perfectly zeroed, with the second group measuring just .50 inches.
After a little more accuracy testing was done with a couple of other loads where we got a .75-inch group with Federal’s 135-grain Hydra Shok Deep, the guys were turned loose with the CSV-9 for some offhand shooting exercises, and they had a blast.
First, the pistol’s action was silky smooth as they operated the charging handle to load the first round. Also, the trigger got quite a few compliments as well. There were a few millimeters of clean pre-travel to the wall. Likewise, there was only the slightest hint of creep before the break at an average of 5.10 pounds of pressure.
The trigger was actually quite nice, much better than anticipated, though the reset was a bit longer than we liked.
The CSV-9’s reliability was exceptional, with no bobbles of any sort. This is after several hundred rounds fired with everything from hollow points to range loads. We were even impressed with the recoil impulse.
Despite being a blowback design, the CSV-9 didn’t really have that heavy “ka-thunk” feeling as the bolt moved back and forth. Sure, it was still a little snappy, but not as pronounced as other similar firearms I’ve tried.
With its exceptionally sleek and clean fit and finish and its superb overall functionality, there were still a few things we felt could be improved with the CSV-9. The iron sights were very well made, with the front sight adjustable for elevation and the rear sight adjustable for windage. However, they just weren’t very usable.
The peepsight at the rear was just a little too small for most of us. It would have been nice if Czech Weapons offered three or four differently sized apertures that could be rotated into place as desired. Sure, with a little time and patience, the tiny peep sight could be used. But I think a red-dot sight would be a must-have for most folks.
Minor Operational Concerns of the CSV-9
The cross-bolt style safety was a little off-putting as well. It’s designed to be ambidextrous. If it’s pushed all the way to the left or right, it is on safe. To fire the pistol, the safety must be pushed to the middle.
It’s not a very ergonomic or intuitive mechanism. And it’s pretty easy to push it too far one way or the other, rendering the pistol unable to fire. In a defensive encounter, when the adrenaline hits, and fine motor control goes out the window, I just don’t think it’s the best type of safety for fast and sure operation.
Also, when the user hits the magazine release for a reload, the magazine does not drop free on its own. Instead of going for a spare magazine with the free hand while hitting the release, the user first has to pull the empty magazine free before retrieving a fresh mag. Yes, it’s a small thing, but those extra milliseconds during a reload could make all the difference.
The last thing worth addressing is that the flash suppressor is attached to the barrel via some unknown thread pitch. And it is recessed into the shroud a bit. This makes working with a suppressor or other muzzle devices a little tricky.
The word is that Czech Weapons is working on a 1/2 x 28 adapter. But it’s unknown at what point it will be available.
Overall, the CSV-9 is a fantastic piece of kit. Especially when dressed up with the right accessories like a red-dot, and if you accept its little quirks and idiosyncrasies. It’s not going to be the user’s everyday carry pistol, but it’s still a terrific weapon in its own right.
Aside from being a formidable fighting tool when appropriately outfitted, it’s a sweet collector’s item. It is also a great conversation piece as well as being a lot of fun at the range.
If you were a child of the ’80s like me and are feeling a bit nostalgic for the good old days when a little overindulgence was expected, the CSV-9 might be your ticket to fun times. But if you’re of a different era, the CSV-9 will still tickle your fancy with top-tier engineering and awesome functionality.
Either way, once you try the CSV-9, you’ll be blown away faster than you can say Crocket and Tubbs.
For more information, visit FourPeaksImports.com.
Version 1 CSV-9 Specs
|Overall Length||13.78 inches|
|Sights||Front post, rear peep|
|Federal Premium 124 +P HST||1,228||0.96|
|Federal Premium 135 Hydra Shok Deep||1,098||0.75|
|Hornady 115 Critical Defense||1,153||0.50|
|Sig Sauer 124 Elite V-Crown||1,141||1.08|
This article was originally published in the Combat Handguns November/December 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.